An Exacting Heart: The story of Hephzibah Menuhin
Viking, $49.95 hb, 440 pp
In early 1980, Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin undertook yet another concert tour. One of their last concerts together was in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. There was a dismal yellow standard lamp for light and a revolving stage so that all the patrons could get value for money. The master of ceremonies introduced them as ‘Ham-erica’s own ... Yoohoo and Heffi Menhoon’. These exceptional siblings had been playing music together since 1932, usually in more salubrious venues. Yehudi often spoke of their liaison spirituelle and their ‘Siamese soul’. Their first public concert took place in 1934, in the Salle Pleyel in Paris. By 1980 it had become one of the longest and richest partnerships in the history of chamber music.